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Baseball divisions are probably not going anywhere

Jun 21, 2011, 5:45 PM EDT

Selig and Weiner

Jeff Passan — who, unless I’m wrong, coined the phrase “unalignment” to describe the elimination of divisions several years ago — reports that while the concept of unalignment has been discussed, it’s not terribly likely. His sources tell him that the reason is simple: too crazy!  Well, they didn’t say “crazy,” — the phrase “drastic change” was used — but the idea is pretty unconventional and a bit of shock to the conservative world of baseball.

His source tells him, however, the the notion of an NL team moving to the AL to balance things out 15-15 is likely, however.

I’m not yet totally invested in any realignment/unalignment plan I’ve seen — I can see pros and cons of most scenarios — but I am kind of bummed that the stated reason for not pursuing unalignment further is simply that it’s radical.  Radical isn’t exactly baseball’s forte, sure, but radical doesn’t mean bad.  The fact is that no matter what you tweak, you’re going to have inefficiencies in the scheduling or the competitive balance or the finances or whatever. The point should be — while the subject is on the table — to find the scenario that limits the inefficiencies, not the one that simply limits the amount of overall change.

Though, yes, I’ll grant that at some point change itself could be considered an inefficiency if it alienates fans.

  1. Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 6:01 PM


    • uuddlrlrbastart - Jun 21, 2011 at 6:07 PM

      Agreed. Well, agreed if you’re booing 15-team leagues, because that is boo-worthy.

  2. hcf95688 - Jun 21, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    I like the idea of two fifteen team leagues, and yes, each with three divisions of five.

  3. bigxrob - Jun 21, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Craig, I notice you ignored the elephant in the 15 team per league room (the DH). Maybe you’ve learned your lesson from earlier where you tried to convince people that it wasn’t worth the argument. Or maybe not. Maybe you were just trying to rile up we the minions earlier….hmmmm…which could it be?

    • R.D. - Jun 22, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      The DH is its own issue. What league/division a team plays in, has no bearing on that.

    • natstowngreg - Jun 22, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      I’d like to see the DH used everywhere, but I’m not buying the idea that realignment is some scheme to make the NL adopt the DH. Haven’t seen any groundswell among NL owners to adopt the DH.

      It’s unlikely that the DH rule (used in AL parks, not in NL parks) would change if there were 15-team leagues. Of course, the NL team that moved to the AL would start using the DH.

  4. ndirishfan1 - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    Divisions are a good idea as long as there are multiple wild cards. Poor Baltimore and Toronto may finally see the postseason.

    Oh, and five teams in every division??? What a novel idea! Kudos to MLB for finally coming to this realization.

    • dwishinsky - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:42 AM

      Tampa Bay hasn’t had a problem with a payroll that is minuscule compared to Baltimore and Toronto. Try and convince fans of the other teams why their shot at the playoffs should be tougher because more AL East teams want in.

      • pmcenroe - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:42 AM

        to be fair only the teams in the AL West would have their playoff chances lessened and even then it would only be to the extent that it would now be equal to every other teams in baseball. not to mention the teams in the AL West have had the easiest chance of making the playoffs since the creation of 3 division leagues.

  5. scholfieldap - Jun 22, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Why not add two teams, realign, and split into FOUR divisions of FOUR teams each. Playoff format with 4 Division Winners and two wildcards, based on overall record, ie you could have THREE teams from 1 division make the playoffs. Seed the teams 1 through 6 like the NFL. 162 games divides up nicely into 3 game series…

  6. larnov - Jun 22, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    How about contraction of 6 teams , Go to 4 6 team divisions,18 games within your division and 12 games vs the other division no inter-league play. Decide on the DH, I like it but if you want to eliminate it, that is OK. 1st place teams in, next 2 are wild cards, 1st round best of 5 with the 1st place teams getting home games 1, 2 and 4 and 5. The league championship games are best of 7. and the World series best of 7. and to stop these late October games how about requiring each team to host 8 real doubleheaders. That way the season could start about april 10th and end about Sept 25th.. Oh wait they used to do it that way. and it worked.

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